Series (2021)


As part our mission to foster the entrepreneurial spirit, we are proud to present the State Forty Eight Foundation Entrepreneur Speaker Series - a seven-part virtual event created with current and aspiring business owners in mind.

If you’ve been sitting on a business idea or working hard to make your side hustle your main hustle, then this series is for you. Through engaging storytelling and actionable advice, the Entrepreneur Speaker Series will serve as a high-level guide for starting a business or taking your venture to the next level.

By bringing together some of Arizona’s most remarkable founders, CEO’s and knowledgeable industry experts, this series will provide direct access to professional resources that will inspire innovation and propel business growth.

And that’s not all! Join us live for an opportunity to win a grant for your business (see eligibility requirements).  Register today and secure your spot. 


Weekly Wednesday Sessions
from 6 - 7PM MST
From September 1st to October 13th


Streamed Live from the
Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation


No Cost to Participate

State Forty Eight Foundation in partnership with Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona

About the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation

The Entrepreneur Speaker Series will be filmed and streamed live from the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI) located at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in Downtown Phoenix. CEI offers award-winning business incubation, startup resources and workforce development training to innovators at every stage of growth. With two central locations in Phoenix and virtual programming that spans a wide range of industries, they provide hands-on support when it’s needed most.

Revisit the live recorded entrepreneur series videos


Program Overview & Speaker Lineup


The State Forty Eight Origin Story: Our Biggest Lessons in Entrepreneurship

Wed, September 1st

State Forty Eight Co-Founders, Mike Spangenberg and Nicholas Polando, will kick off this 7-part series by sharing the State Forty Eight origin story. They will take you through their entrepreneurial journey, revealing their successes, mistakes, and lessons learned along the way. You will also learn more about their vision for the State Forty Eight Foundation and the type of support they aim to provide for Arizona entrepreneurs and the start-up community. 

Then stick around for a brief presentation from our partner, the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI), as they share the types of resources this state-of-the-art, award-winning business incubator located on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus can offer your business!

Picture of Mike Spangenberg

Mike Spangenberg

CEO & Co-Founder - State Forty Eight
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Nicholas Polando

Creative Director & Co-Founder - State Forty Eight
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Tom Schumann

Executive Director - Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation

Identifying Your Vision & Your Why

Wed, September 8th

The foundation to any good business is a clear vision and purpose. How do you find that? 

As a serial entrepreneur and CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Freestar, David Freedman is familiar with having a vision and seeing it through. Join us for a conversation with Freedman as he shares how he gets clear on an idea and why it’s so important to define your “Why” as a business owner. 

Then stick around for a brief presentation from Carly Figman of the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI) as she walks you through the importance of market research and validation and how you can do this for your business.

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David Freedman

Founder - Freestar

Carly Figman

Community Engagement Coordinator - Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation

From Dream to Reality: Business Goal Setting

Wed, September 15th

So, you have a business idea… now what? Where do you start? How do turn this on-paper idea to something real?

As a former mental edge coach for the Phoenix Suns, NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL players, as well as author, speaker and a mentor to global leaders, CEOs and athletes, Darleen Santore (AKA "Coach Dar") knows a thing or two about setting goals and achieving them. Coach Dar blends her knowledge of science, psychology and achievement with her personal passion for life, and inspires those around her to aim higher and achieve more. During her session, Coach Dar will discuss how to build resiliency and consistency around goal setting. She will speak on the value of celebrating small wins and why "why power" is better than will power.

Julia Peixoto Peters will then join us on stage to share her story - a true example of "why power." Julia left her job as a successful attorney to pursue a career in coffee. Now the Founder and Co-owner of Peixoto Coffee, she shares her story of walking away from something certain to pursue a dream, and details how she did it and what she learned about running and scaling a brick-and-mortar business. Tune in to learn how to set and achieve business goals through her process that’s brought her much success.

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Darleen Santore “Coach Dar”

Founder and CEO of Performance Meets Purpose

Julia Peixoto Peters

Founder and Co-owner of Peixoto Coffee



Cover Your Bases: Legal and Financial Planning

Wed, September 22nd 2021

What’s the difference between an LLC and Corporation? How do I submit a trademark? How do I plan for taxes? How much should I budget?

It’s the part of entrepreneurship that no one really talks about, but legal and financial business planning are perhaps two of the most important (and confusing) pieces of the puzzle to ensure protection and longevity for your business endeavor.

Join us as attorney, Talia Offord, and Kim Reedy, a business finance expert from OneAZ Credit Union, answer all these questions and more! Get clarity on what you need to do and gather resources to help you get started.

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Talia Offord

Associate General Counsel - Fortune 500 Company

Kim Reedy

President and CEO of OneAZ Credit Union

Kim Reedy

President and CEO of OneAZ Credit Union

Building a Brand & Creating Retention Through Sales and Marketing

Tues, September 28th

Creating a business is one thing but knowing how to market it in today’s ever-evolving digital world can be daunting. We know how important proper branding and marketing are for attracting your ideal clients, but with so many options, where should we place our focus to help our business thrive? And once our marketing is dialed, how can we keep those clients coming back for more?

Join us as Dominic Orozco, CMO of Gila River Hotels & Casinos and branding expert, provides you with the fundamentals to branding and marketing your business. 

Then CEO and Co-Founder of Majka, Lorena Garcia, shows us her approach to marketing an ecommerce brand and shares her tips for customer retention. 

You don’t want to miss this one!

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Lorena Garcia

CEO & Co-Founder - Majka
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Dominic Orozco

Chief Strategic Marketing Officer - Gila River Hotels & Casinos
Picture of Dominic Orozco

Dominic Orozco

Chief Strategic Marketing Officer - Gila River Hotels & Casinos

Help! Identifying Resources

Wed, October 6th 2021

Business ideas are free but getting a business up and running isn’t. Even the most basic home business incurs a multitude of startup costs, including registering a business name, obtaining a business telephone line, and printing business cards. So how does an entrepreneur go about gathering financial resources for their business venture? 

Join us for a discussion with Sr. Vice President of Venture Development at Skysong Innovations, Charlie Lewis, who is wealth of knowledge when it comes to resourcing your business. From pitching your idea to pooling funds from friends and family members or venture capitalists to securing grants or loans, Charlie will highlight the different ways you can start raising capital today! 

Then sit down with Sarah Benken, an accomplished CEO of 12 years, as she pulls back the curtain on how to create strategically grow and scale your business by leveraging your network. Sarah is an advocate of pursuing your own unique journey and building a strong community of supporters who can help you reach the next level.

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Charlie Lewis

Vice President - Venture Development and Physical Sciences Skysong Innovations

Sarah Benken

Founder & CEO of the KNOW Women

Sarah Benken

Founder & CEO of the KNOW Women

Maintaining the Entrepreneur Mindset & Learning From Your Mistakes

Wed, October 13th 2021

The final installment of the State Forty Eight Foundation Entrepreneur Speaker Series is all about the lessons you learn along the journey of entrepreneurship and how to be unwavering in your pursuit. 

Templeton Walker, entrepreneur and investor, will speak to maintaining mindset and why it’s crucial for running a business, and how thinking outside of the box can be your biggest asset for creating your dream life. 

Then, to close out the series, John Shufeldt, Founder of TribalEM, NextCare and MeMD and business thought leader, will share his insights from the past three decades as an entrepreneur and what he wished he would have known when he first started.

Templeton Walker

Entrepreneur and Investor - Soulpod, TLP Ventures
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John Shufeldt

Founder of TribalEM, NextCare and MeMD, 11x Author

Grants and Resources

Starting a business is exciting but whether it’s paying for the formation of an LLC or purchasing your first batch of products, calculating costs can be daunting when you are a new entrepreneur.

Because we stand by our mission to foster the entrepreneurial spirit, we’ve created a grants fund for new or aspiring business owners who join us for the livestream event.

A group of entrepreneurs working together at a laptop.

Attendees who fulfill the following requirements will be eligible to apply for grants in the amount of $500 or more:

Attend 5 of 7 livestream sessions 
(watching the replay doesn’t count)

Fill out at least 1 of the post-session surveys

Submit the simple grant application*

*this will be sent post-series to anyone who fulfilled the two requirements.

If you aren’t able to meet the grant requirements, don’t worry! There will opportunities during each session to win things like one-on-one mentorship sessions with our speakers or free business tools and resources.

Interested in finding more resources?


Our Sponsors

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